Christmas Island asylum seekers have pleaded to be released from immigration detention on temporary protection visas.
Christmas Island asylum seekers have added weight to a federal government push to reintroduce temporary protection visas, pleading to be released on them rather than suffer deteriorating mental health in detention.
A male asylum seeker, representing several families who arrived after July 19 last year, called for the controversial visas to be reinstated.
“We are really so tired from our lives here. We need freedom,” the man wrote in a letter to Sky News, detailing asylum seekers’ fears about being sent to Nauru or Cambodia and depression.
“This detention, this prison, this life is very, very bad for children, teenagers and adults,” he said.
Criminals in jail were better off than those waiting for refugee status decisions because they knew when they would get out, he said.
The Senate last year blocked the Abbott government’s bid to reintroduce the visas abolished by Labor in 2008.
Under the Howard government they gave refugees protection for up to three years but banned them from applying for permanent protection.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott maintains they are the “most humanitarian policy”.
“I want to see the obstacles to that policy removed,” he told reporters in Canberra on Friday.
But his government will have a tough task convincing the Senate to support the policy.
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has talked to Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer but the outcome of their meeting is unknown.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten dismissed the visas as a bandaid fix that keeps people in limbo.
He believes the Papua New Guinea refugee resettlement deal made the case for the visas redundant because resettlement in Australia was off the table.
Meanwhile, Mr Morrison’s office has confirmed an asylum seeker has been evacuated from Manus Island detention centre for urgent medical attention in Brisbane.
He received medical treatment in Port Moresby first.
Australian Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young fears the 24-year-old Iranian man was airlifted to Australia too late and urged Mr Morrison to explain.
She said he has a skin infection that has turned life-threatening.